By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Suppliers are expanding the selection of PMPs with touchscreens, Wi-Fi and kid themes. Here's what you'll find:
Coby: The company's first touchscreen PMP is the MP836 with 3-inch LCD screen. It's available in 4GB and 8GB capacities, and both versions come with MicroSD slot to expand capacity. Also new: the touchpad-equipped MP725 PMP, which features 2.4-inch LCD screen, FM tuner, and 4GB and 8GB capacities. All four units play music and video and display photos. Additional details were unavailable.
GPX: New models from the Digital Products International brand include the MW149R retractable-USB-type flash-memory player, which plays MP3 files and comes with ear buds. The MW249 and MW349B flash players play back MP3 and WMA files, and the MW249 adds SD/MMC expansion slot. The MW249 operates on one AAA battery, while the MW349B is equipped with a rechargeable battery and back-lit display. The new MT948B is a PMP that doubles as a 1.3-megapixel camera/camcorder. It features the 2.8-inch LCD touchscreen. All ship in the first quarter. Pricing was unavailable.
Haier: The company's first touch-screen PMP players are the Wi-Fi-equipped 8GB and 16GB Rhapsody Ibiza Theater PMPs, due in the first quarter at a suggested $119 and $139, respectively.
Like their predecessors, they stream Rhapsody's Internet music services and download subscription-based Rhapsody songs via Wi-Fi, but the new models add larger screen at 2.4 inches, and they feature longer battery life of up to 30 hours of music playback on a removable rechargeable battery.
Both also feature stereo Bluetooth, FM tuner, MicroSD slots for additional memory, playback of MP3 and protected WMA music files, Audible-file playback, playback of AVI video files and display of JPEG photos.
iRiver: The company is expanding its selection of touch-screen PMPs, introducing its first Web-browsing PMP, and launching its first PMP that doubles as a Wi-Fi-enabled Internet phone.
The Wi-Fi-equipped 4GB Wave W10 plays music and video files, acts as a photo viewer and doubles as an Internet phone when in a Wi-Fi network. It doesn't include Web browser. Users dial on a virtual dialing keypad appearing on its 3-inch-wide WQVGA touchscreen. It also features mono speaker, FM radio, Flash-format games, and ability to download music wirelessly via WiFi from Bugs Music. It uses SRS Wow HD to widen and elevate the stereo image and enhance definition and bass response
The Web-browsing P35 features 4.3-inch touchscreen, Wi-Fi, 30 fps video playback, TV output, built-in speaker, 16GB or 32GB of flash memory, MicroSD slot, FM radio, voice recorder, Flash games and photo viewer, including viewing of digital-SLR camera's RAW files. A sensor lets users change the song that's playing by shaking the player.
The touchscreen-equipped P20 PMP features 4.1-inch AMOLED widescreen display, 480 by 272 WQVGA resolution, 80GB or 120GB capacities, TV output, FM radio, FM and voice recording, 30 fps video playback, photo viewer and Flash games.
Memorex: The brand's first touchscreen PMP, the MMP9490, will be available in 8GB and 16GB versions, both with 2.8-inch LCD color touchscreen and microSD slot to expand memory capacity. It plays WMV and AVI video files, MP3 and WMA audio files, Audible files, and podcasts. It also acts as a JPEG photo viewer. The rechargeable battery delivers 20 hours of audio playback or seven hours of video playback. It also includes FM radio. The 8GB model will retail for a suggested $99. Pricing on the other model was unavailable.
Nextar: The maker of PMPs and PNDs (personal navigation devices) plans first-quarter availability of Ribbit frog-face MP3 player and spring availability of the 0.25-inch-thick MA809 PMP.
The 4GB Ribbit, available in four colors at a suggested $24.99, plays MP3 and WMA files and uses rechargeable lithium-ion battery.
The MA809 PMP is available in 4GB and 8GB versions at a suggested $99 and $129, respectively. They accept MicroSD cards for additional capacity.
Sakar: Under the Crayola brand, the company is launching 2GB MP3 player at a suggested $34.99 with voice recorder, ear buds and built-in speaker.
Samsung: The company is adding haptic feedback to a touch-screen PMP for the first time with the March shipment of the widescreen P3, which will be available in 8GB, 16GB and 32GB versions. It features 3-inch, WQVGA 16:9 display, 30 fps video playback, motion user interface and stereo Bluetooth. The latter is available for use with Bluetooth headphones, for making wireless file transfers and for accepting incoming calls from a Bluetooth phone. Music automatically mutes when a call comes in. It also features the company's DNSe 3.0 technology for enhancing the quality of compressed music, built-in speaker, voice recorder, FM tuner with FM recording, and display of JPEG and text files. Pricing was unavailable.
Sony: One new product is the company's first MP3 player with flash memory embedded in the headphones. The other new model is the company's first PMP with touchscreen.
The former is the W series Walkman, a 2GB $69-suggested model with a "zappin" function that lets consumers use the jog dial to search quickly for a song by playing back only the main melodies of stored songs. It features spiral-type headphones and playback of MP3, AAC, protected WMA and PCM files. It plays for 12 hours on one charge.
The flagship X series Walkman, available in 16GB and 32GB versions, can be operated through hard buttons and a touchscreen, which features a 3-inch wide OLED display with WQVGA resolution. It's also Sony's first Wi-Fi PMP, which wirelessly accesses the Web, streams YouTube videos and automatically downloads podcasts. And the 32GB version offers more flash memory than previous models. Pricing was unavailable.
Other X series features include noise-canceling headphones with airplane mode, FM tuner and multiple-codec playback. The device plays all of the audio formats of the W series model and adds the following video codecs: H.264/AVC, MPEG-4 and protected WMV.
Both series play protected-WMA subscription downloads.
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